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response to article
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girlguitarist wrote in asexuality
Hey guys, it's one week after my article was published, and this response has appeared in the letters to the editor. I disagree with a lot of what this person said, even though I only consider myself 80% asexual in the first place. [What bothers me most is that this person seems to think we SHOULD want sex, when we're really okay without it, if not better off!]

What are your responses to it?

Coming out of the garden: Beliefs Rooted in denial.

In last week’s “Letters to the Editor” section, I came across a rather interesting submission that I’m sure many of you had the pleasure of reading. It was entitled “Asexuality: It’s not just for plants”. This article was eye-catching for a variety of different reasons, and seeing as I was looking for a challenge, I decided to take this one on. When reading this article, I tried my best to be open-minded. Different forms of sexuality have always interested me, and I myself, teetering on the edge of heterosexuality, was open to the opportunity of learning something new. But, as per-usual, I can never just accept what I see at face value, I almost always have to challenge it.

So, to begin my rebuttal of the presented asexual arguments, I think it is important to define the word sexuality. Contrary to popular belief it is not just the physical acts of sex. Sexuality is what makes people emotionally and physically charged beings. Sexuality is not simply the physical lust felt between two individuals. It is how we express ourselves to the rest of the world through our bodies and our minds. From this definition alone, you can guess the angle of approach I am taking for this editorial. There is no such thing as asexuality as a sexual orientation. Easy now, I realize that several red flags just popped up all over the place, so let me elaborate.

Scientifically, asexuality is defined as a lack of sex drive (as opposed to the botanical definition which usually refers to plants that fertilize themselves, not plants who refuse to have sex with other plants). In the medical community, this is viewed as a sexual dysfunction. A low or non-existent sex drive can be attributed to many different physical malfunctions in the human body. In both men and woman it can be caused by low levels of testosterone. In both sexes, a low libido can be due to a lack of nerve stimulation in the brain. Insufficient production of Nitric Oxide in the blood can make arousal difficult, as it is accredited with vasodilatation and erectile functions. There are relatively simple ways to fix these disorders, the most common forms of medical relief being testosterone injections, and, more recently, Yohimbine dosages. For the more holistic individual, there is also a variety of herbal remedies. L-Arginine and Gingko Biloba (I’m not making this stuff up) are both entirely natural herbal therapies that have been shown to increase Nitric Oxide in the blood and aid in brain nerve stimulation.

Besides hormonal deficiencies, there are a variety of psychological roots that can lead to what may be referred to as asexuality (a general disinterest in sex). These include early sexual abuse, troubled relationships, spousal abuse and other forms of psychological trauma. Like any other form of mental distress, these are serious and can have damaging mental consequences if they are not addressed and dealt with. Dr. R. Taylor Segraves of Case Western University School of Medicine in Cleveland did a study on what he coined “Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder” which is brought on by psychological traumas. Just as sex addictions are a problem, so are the inabilities to embrace one’s sexuality.

But all of this mumbo-jumbo may mean very little to the non-biology buffs out there. However, the point I am beating to death is very simple. The difference between bi-, homo-, and heterosexuality is that there isn’t any cure, hormonal, therapeutic or otherwise. Asexuality however, can be “cured” (excuse the lack of sensitivity in my word choice); there are ways for people who are clinically diagnosed as Asexual to become physically attracted to other people. If change is an option and Asexuality is a choice, then it is not an orientation.

Now, I am not saying that abstaining from sex is wrong, after all abstinence is the most foolproof form of birth control out there. Nor am I denying that platonic relationships can be just as fulfilling as very physical ones. However, there were a few statements made in the article that I couldn’t quite get my mind around. For example, “We are following a generation that felt obligated to have sex after marriage.” Umm, yes? I don’t think that just applied to our parents’ generation. Had sex after marriage not been the cultural norm for every society in every generation since the beginning of time, none of us would be here today – unless you can think of a more profound asexual way of reproducing (but back in the day I am pretty sure they didn’t have test tubes or turkey baisters). Or my personal favourite: “Asexuality does not necessarily mean that a person lacks sex drive.” Now, there are three definitions of asexuality that I was able to find and they are as follows: A - Having no evident sex or sex organs; sexless. (Now, I don’t think that one applies.) B - Relating to, produced by, or involving reproduction that occurs without the union of male and female gametes, as in binary fission or budding. (Although people may say that they are “coming out of the garden”, I’m almost certain that they are not reproducing via binary fission.) Finally C - Lacking interest in or desire for sex. Those being the options, I am fairly certain that the original statement is false. What those people are experiencing must be something very different from asexuality.

I guess what I am trying to get across (without looking completely and utterly promiscuous) is that sexuality is important to a person’s physical, emotional and spiritual development. If you are unsure or confused about your sexuality, confront it. Don’t hide behind a fictional orientation. Sigmund Freud said it most accurately, “the only wrong kind of sex, is none at all.” So instead of using the term Asexual as a scapegoat, examine yourself more closely and determine what it is exactly that sexuality means to you.

Ainsley Doty

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From what I'm seeing, this person seems to be confusing asexuality with impotence and/or frigidity. There's a difference.

I think a rebuttal to this letter would look a lot like—hey—your original piece. This person was clearly not reading what you'd written, but was blindly critical from the word "asexual." All these points could be clearly answered for by rereading your article, or visiting AVEN.


If change is an option and Asexuality is a choice, then it is not an orientation.

That's to imply that asexuality is a choice. And according to any studying I have done in psychology, lack of a sex drive can only be considered a disorder of some sort if it causes considerable distress in a person's life and that person is unable to function normally.

Kook-ass psychology major,eh?

This fellow(lady?) is doing a great insult to the psychological field, even if he is(presumably) just a student with a superiority complex and too much time on his hands. Unfortunately, his command of the english language will no doubt leave many poor readers out there convinced that asexuality is psychological disorder and the result of trauma or someother outstanding, external cause.

The same thing was said by psychiatrists and psychologists of homosexuality in times past. As a matter of fact, the DMS-I, the original bible on psychiatric disorders actually listed homosexuality as a mental condition. We know now, through research and common sense that this just isn't the case. The same goes fo asexuality- it is a sexual preference, and does not interfere with one's functioning as a human being at ALL.

Re: Kook-ass psychology major,eh?

I agree with you ~James Birdsong

What I find to be the biggest bullshit in this letter is that the person says sexuality is important to your spiritual development.

Sex is purely a physical thing on its base level though humans tend to throw emotions in it. But sex itself just refers to two bodies ingaging in some type of intercourse.

Spirituality, on the other hand, deals with something that has absolutely nothing to do with your body, but is higher than that.

Does this mother fucker care to explain how sexuality is important to my spiritual growth when they are two separate things?

I really hate people that think they know everything just because they went to or are attending college.

Those are very annoying people ~James Birdsong

Using the term Asexual as a scapegoat? That's an odd word choice.

Anyone who needs to quote Freud to support an argument should reevaluate their stance. Sure, he was an influential figure in psychology, but he was very wrong about a lot of subjects.

That said, I don't feel the need to "confront" anything. Why does everyone assume that having a very low sex drive is distressing? It's just part of who I am; I don't feel like I need to be "fixed."

That was the point of the rant but heck I don't know for sure ~James Birdsong

why would anyone feel a need to refute an informative article? you weren't arguing anything in the first place...
this person bothers me because of everything s/he said but also, i would say that trying to explain asexuality in it's entirety would take a longer article that you submitted (the article was great, btw) because there are so many different sides to asexuality (i.e. we may not lack sex drives but we lack the drive to have sex with another person).
but geez, there's nothing wrong with us, we aren't defective. if anything, we have achieved a greater level of clarity in our lives.

Hey everyone, great responses so far! Thanks!

I think I may personally email this person just to talk about a few things. I would write a second letter to the editor, but as many of you have pointed out, I would only be reiterating what I already said.

I got the impression that this person never looked at AVEN; s/he doesn't seem to understand what I meant by sex drive, whereas all of you here understand that sexual urges don't have to be applied to another person.

I'm very glad I wrote the article in the first place. This goes to show how misunderstood asexuality is. Hopefully this rebuttal doesn't negatively affect any closet asexuals I may have gotten through to with my article.

If you guys are able to, I would encourage you to let others know about asexuality, even if you don't come out about your own.

(Deleted comment)
If you are unsure or confused about your sexuality, confront it. Don’t hide behind a fictional orientation.

I'm neither unsure nor confused. Nor abused as they imply. The notion of intercourse is simply of no interest to me, never has been, nothing to confront, end of story. This has not in any way hampered my "physical, emotional and spiritual development;" I earn a good living, am told I possess a number of talents, take part in a reasonable social circle of friends, engage in the same sorts of things anyone else my age might do...I simply have no pressing need to fuck, and am perfectly comfortable with that.

The only person that needs to be "cured" here is the author of that letter.

*Applauds* ~James Birdsong

Finally C - Lacking interest in or desire for sex. Those being the options, I am fairly certain that the original statement is false.

It seems like this person doesn't know the difference between the meaning of or and the meaning of and. A lack of interest in sex is consistent with your original claim, "Asexuality does not necessarily mean that a person lacks sex drive.”

I happen to agree with you ~James Birdsong

I find it hard to take seriously anyone who uses Freud to back up their arguments.

While the author does have a point about that "generation expected to have sex after marriage" line (or at least she seems to; I don't remember the original article and don't have it in front of me), the rest of the article is something of a straw man.

Quite a falacy to use a straw man in essays and things ~James Birdsong

a question for all of you

Well, my brother and sister asexuals/neutrosexuals...

I have a question. I've been asexual practically since birth. I most likely still am. But there's something confusing me. It used to be rare or nonexistent that I'd ever get horny. As of recent, that's changing. My hornyness is becoming more frequent--even to the point of REQUIRING actual sex. I really don't care for sex at all, but this hornyness situation is forcing me to do it.

Does anyone know how to stop hornies without resorting to sex? Does anyone know of any herbs or homeopathic preparations that would help with getting rid of hornies? I would really appreciate the help. It would restore my sanity.

Re: a question for all of you

hi,i am no head doctor on the subject but i,ll give it my best shot,okay? as you get older you probably became sexualy aroued and you found you,rself wanting to do whatever it took to ease that horny feelings.If you remember what you did to aleave the tension outside of accal intercourse with someone,then try reverting to controling you,r bodies basic instincts to have sex.It,s you,r mind that you have to controle.If smoking bothers you,don,t smoke!if drinking alcohol makes you sick,don,t drink,sexual urghes are prety much the same way,it,s how one handles the sitution as it arisses.

Re: a question for all of you

Ah. Thank you. I appreciate the reply to my question. I thought I quit the asexuality group, so I'm curious how to replied to me. ^_^; Then again, my email address might be listed in my profile.

Re: a question for all of you

the hornies you say you are feeling is a chemical and or biological process that you,r body is going through,no worries,all one has to do is train the brain to think of somthing becides sex and how to get it.You have controle of you,r body and it,s up to you how you conduct you,rself during these hornie feelings.A true asexual has controle over their body and emotions,it,s hard i know,but if you have the strangth and will,then you will have no troubles over coming this problem.

I think I'll write a rebuttal to that rebuttal; riasing many of the arguments made above, and especially questioning this person's need to DISPROVE asexuality.

It's true that asexuality is inconsistent with nature, and with our culture. But then again, so is/was homosexuality.

I think your statement about "Sex after marraige" made sense. 100 years ago, if a man and wife didn't have sex, it would be considered okay. Today it would be considered unhealthy. Why?
Historically, marraige meant starting a family. But sometimes, marraige was a partnership; whereby sex and children didn't necessarily follow.

Sexuality can be defined as: concern with or interest in sexual activity.
(look it up in any dictionary)
The suffix "A", means "non".
Asexuality can be defined as: no concern with or interest in sexuality.

You know what that article was really about? I think Ainsley just needed to masturbate intellectually.

I always forget to </ > in my html

that would be really great if you wrote a rebuttal to the paper; i'm just writing one to ainsley, not to the paper. if you do, remember the deadline is monday!

Hey, I'm not on this community very much, I tend to stick to AVEN, but I just wanted to say a few things. I read your article and I thought it rocked. Then I read this response and I just want to hit that person... what really gets me is how all the sexual people who deny our existance seem to think it's out of the question for them to try to see things from the asexual position, a position they should have had limited experience with as a young child, and yet they practically ask us to try and see things like they do everyday. That's a position we've NEVER had. Sorry, probably rambling a bit, but it just sort of came out and I left it there...

Stop comparing asexuality to homosexuality

I don't know if truly asexual people exist, but until you have a clear definition of what asexuality is then you can't define it as an orientation. Homosexual is defined as "1 : of, relating to, or characterized by a tendency to direct sexual desire toward another of the same sex"

Sexual orientation is the direction of sexual attraction, asexuality is either the absence of sex drive or the absence of sexual desire. Asexuality is not a sexual orientation because it is asexual, this is true by definition and is indisputable.

Many self-described asexuals are not asexual. If you have a boyfriend and simply do not enjoy sex, you aren't asexual you just don't like sex. An asexual would not have a desire for a relationship with someone of a specific sex, so if you want a boyfriend or girlfriend you are not asexual. You have an attraction to a specific sex.

The other related problem is you are describing a variety of phenomenon and lumping them together. There are people who are revolted by sex but are either heterosexual or homosexual, these people suffer from a psychological disorder known as "sexual aversion." People who are unable to become sexually excited are describing themselves as asexual. There may be true asexuals, but the vast majority of people describing themselves in this way are either confused or dysfunctional.

Nobody wants to force asexuals to change, what they object to is people calling it an orientation.

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